The second week of May 2016 was special for us as we had the opportunity to facilitate the first ever TYPO3 code sprint to be hosted in Romania!
Staying in close contact with the TYPO3 community is critical for us, especially since the development pace of TYPO3 has been dramatically increased over the past year and several new version of TYPO3 have been launched.
Keeping up with the changes, new features or future plans is so much easy when you are directly involved in the development process.
A couple of our colleagues attended the code sprint, got familiar with the contribution workflow and started submitting patches to the TYPO3 core.
We invited the local IT community to join the TYPO3 core team at an Open Event, grab a beer and talk to some cool experienced TYPO3 developers.
We are excited to announce a new service we will offer starting this year – TYPO3 training workshops and sessions.
After over 10 years experience in TYPO3 development and consultancy, we want to share our knowledge and help others to get familiar and proficient in working with TYPO3. You can now take advantage of our expertise by attending one of our workshops.
All our trainers are very experienced TYPO3 developers that master web development and mentoring.
The workshops & sessions are for both individual developers, but also for web agencies that want to grow their TYPO3 CMS knowledge within their employees.
We are all fully aware of the tremendous pace at which technology evolves. Year after year, the tools we work with are changing, the organization’s change from within and adapt to new paradigms, and we adapt ourselves, each of us, to the life in a global environment which is more and more inclusive and connected. Years ago, the concept of a community around a technology or practice was something difficult to grasp by many people in tech in the Eastern Europe. Step by step, year by year, event by event, the perception evolved, the experience developed and the initiative and passion found the context to be expressed, through the spirit of community.
While there are many communities, bigger and smaller, around technologies, open or closed source, it was from the very first moment of my contact with the people in TYPO3 that I knew I am into something different. And from all people that I know, once they got into the spirit of the TYPO3 community, they were hooked, and wanted more, hardly waiting for the next event where they can meet friends. Meet old friends and make new ones. Because TYPO3 is a community of friends. Open, passionate, interested to help, ready to share everything: a technical advice, a plan to make things better, an opportunity, a story, a beer, a hug. This spirit unites and captures all, business owners, or experienced programmers, or rookies.
For “TYPO3 East Europe” the journey started in 2012, when at a national Romanian meetup we agreed that we want to do more: bring the people of TYPO3 together, from all parts of our continent. At the 3rd edition which took place in 13-14 November, people from 12 countries gathered, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Romania were already veterans. Ukraine, Moldavia, Hungary have been here before. Austria, France, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia joined now. Some of the attendees discovered for the first time the TYPO3 community. And they were instantly hooked.
As in each year so far, T3EE was a good opportunity to spread the word about TYPO3 in the Romanian environment. Taking advantage of the early arrival of some attendees from abroad, a “TYPO3 Marathon” pre-event happened in 12 November, moving from one place to another and meeting with different audiences, presenting TYPO3 and discussing with the participants: students in computer sciences at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, or the community of local web developers gathered at a local coworking space, ClujHUB.
The main event started early Friday morning, for two days and 22 presentations on various interesting topics. It was hard to choose, as most happened in parallel, in two rooms, so the following details include only the ones where I could attend.
A lot has happened for TYPO3 in the past year, since T3EE 2014. Back then, there was a lot of incertitude regarding the future – what will happen with TYPO3 CMS ? Does it have a future ? Will Neos eventually take over its place ? But with the great dedication of a wonderful team, TYPO3 CMS has proven that is here to stay and grew even stronger then before.
In his presentation, “TYPO3 CMS 7LTS: How we got here and how we will continue”, Patrick Broens, TYPO3 Core developer since 2005, told us what has happened in the last year, how the plan was developed and executed so that we now have TYPO3 7 LTS as the best in terms of performance and user experience TYPO3 version ever, and what are the future plans, towards TYPO3 8.
The Mask Project – easier life for content elements creators
With consistent effort and dedication over the last years, Gernot Ploiner is determined to make the life easier for anyone who wants to create content elements and page templates with dynamic form fields.
As TemplaVoila, popular for a long time, became outdated, TYPO3 needed a better solution, one that also takes benefits of the current state of technology. This is how The Mask extension was born, received with enthusiasm everywhere where Gernot presented, including TYPO3 Camp Mallorca in September 2015, where he won the Wanderpokal for the best presentation.
Prepare for the future
Some may say that the future is stormy and full of risks, some that it is full of opportunities. And all are right. The rhythm of the evolution, in technology and in the way we do business, has no precedent in history, and the acceleration continues. Stelian Brad presented us the possible paths to navigate the ocean of tomorrow and rip the benefits of the huge potential that stands in front of us, through agility and resilience.
Efficient problem solving can make a great difference in the success an individual or an organization can achieve. But too many times, we jump to the “solution” driven by intuition and not by proper analysis, and end up creating a big mess by treating effects and leaving the causes untouched
The A3 Problem Solving Process provides a method to ensure that you solve the right problem, understanding the current reality, and by setting proper goals you can plan an efficient execution. Mastering it takes practice though, so we’ll definitely put it further to work at Arxia
Jochen Weiland can make any technical subject entertaining, even something like htaccess and its various rules, providing some nice insights and advices regarding proper usage of directives for various purposes and for better performance.
The 3D world of Three.JS in PlanningWiz
3D in browser, through HTML5 and WebGL, is a reality that can help deliver interactive experiences to our users. It is a fascinating field, one that requires mastery in order to create universes through which you can fly or walk, but understanding the basis can already allow a web developer to generate engaging universes. Emil Mercea showed us what we need to consider in order to build a 3D scene, proved it by animating a TYPO3 logo and showed us the big project that he is working on, the new edition of PlanningWiz, redone fully in HTML5 and including flythrough and walkthough interactive 3D. As it will be launched soon, we’ll have the chance to see the results shortly.
A German-Romanian team of presenters, including the initiator of the project, Andrea Herzog-Kienast, mentors and the rookies themselves, told us how the TYPO3 Summer Camp happened in 2015. On the Romanian side, Arxia has hosted 4 German rookies for one week in July. It was a very good experience, a success and a good start for something that can grow much bigger, as a platform for rapid induction of beginners in the TYPO3 world and the community, and a great way to exchange knowledge and cultural experiences in foreign countries
The Shu-Ha-Ri in cooking and software development
In anything that we do, if we aim to achieve excellence, the approach is the same. For Jens Krumm, an analysis of mastering cooking skills provided a great metaphor to talk about agile practices and the right ingredients that will lead to success in our industry: Passion, Discipline and Courage.
Do you know how much an interruption costs?
We all know they cost a lot. But we are still plagued by them, and still we sometimes get into the trap to inflict them to our peers. And this is just one of the important aspects that affects our productivity. Stefan Rotsch pointed out a set of ideas on how we can get more productive, with some simple principles that we should apply in our life and our work. And just to make something clear, on a hype of the last years: “inbox zero” has no value if you just hide your messages but still leave the problems unresolved !
The biggest TYPO3 installation in existence?
The one of the University of Vienna might well be the biggest, at least from what we know of.
1.284 Domains, 132.407 Pages, 573.980 News Elements, 420.083 Content Elements, 3.821 Users of which over 1000 active, 32 Languages – these numbers are really impressive. Everything maintained by a team of only 4 people.
Raman Ganguly told us how such a big installation is managed and how it was upgraded to 6.2.
Changing mindsets and developing an organizational culture
For Alex Rotaru, growing a team specialised in testing was an experiential journey, which led to many discoveries on how to help people become more motivated in a role that by many is regarded as not having enough appeal: the software testing. While we all know in principle the importance of QA, there are many preconceptions regarding the tester: many think that anyone can do it, some think that testers are not needed, and many testers themselves see the role as just an intro step into an IT career which will lead them to becoming programmers. But with a healthy mindset, passion and care for the evolution of each member of the team, a career in testing can be quite rewarding.
Horizontally scaling large websites
Dealing with a large website, with a lot of traffic, is always a challenge. What are the principles that we need to know ? What are the techniques ? What are the tools ? Nikola Stojiljković presented his experience in managing the deployment of travelis.com
Code conventions, between OHH and AHH
Standardization, following conventions and writing clean code are important topics for any developer, but usually these are bland topics. Not if the presenter is Patrick Broens, who made a real entertainment and lead the entire audience to join the game. Say OHH if you think the left variant is better, say AHH if the right one is correct ! We learned or checked our knowledge, in a very fun way.
Work smarter, not harder
There is never enough time to do everything, and we can always to more. But doing more work hours might not be the key to success, as it has huge risks. We learned from Ben van ‘t Ende how to identify the initial signs of burnout, how to avoid running into great trouble by taking measures in due time and how to help out the ones who suffer from burnout and depression.
The TYPO3 community together in spirit
In the same time T3EE happened in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the TYPO3camp Rhein Rhur was taking place in Essen. While we cannot be in two places in the same time, we are together in spirit and in the passion for TYPO3 and for its community. It was a great joy for us to salute and talk with the people from T3CRR through a video call, and we all shared ideas about making the TYPO3 community even greater.
We had good presentations at T3EE, but socializing was also taken seriously. Three nights in a row we went out together, to various locations in town, culminating with the main party where we had a lot of fun, sampled Transylvanian wines and played with the Photobooth or the helium-filled balloons, fuelled by the open bar until the small hours of the next morning.
Arxia is proud to have joined the sponsors who made TYPO3 East Europe possible: Jweiland, Pixelant ( Gold ), DKD ( Silver), Internezzo ( Bronze), and UPC Romania which supported the event by providing reliable internet access to everyone attending.
I am happy to have been part of T3EE 2015 and I am looking forward for the future, for more events where the TYPO3 community gathers, to meet old friends, and to make new ones.
This past summer we facilitated a great cause for the 40 children of the Social Services Center “Sfantul Gheorghe” from Romanasi, Salaj County, which lack all the needed IT infrastructure to allow pupils fast access to information.
Our friend & active TYPO3 community member Jochen Weiland, contacted us regarding a stack of computers that were being replaced by newer models, thus faced with a number of unused machines at JWeiland, we were asked if we can find someone here in Romania that could put them to good use.
We quickly looked around especially for children homes which were lacking PCs around Cluj Napoca and we came across the Social Services Center from the village Românași. Since the computers were located at the JWeiland headquarters – Germany, the cost of getting them to Romania was considerable, but thankfully our friends at BST Logistic shipped all the computers with one of their trucks covering most of the cost. The computers arrived first at our office where some volunteer colleagues prepared them for the children usage before shipping them to the village Romanasi.
Maybe the great part was before the T3EE 2015 event when Jochen visited the center and could see where the computers ended up and also meet their happy users.
Thanks to Arxia, last week, me and my colleague Leonard, attended the 2015 Smartweb conference. It was the 3rd edition, held in Bucharest at the JW Marriott Hotel.
The event started with a presentation from Petro Salema, Ghost in the shell, who focused on new models of human-computer interaction.
The second presentation, was held by Roy Tomeij, SASS – of the beaten path, a presentation in which he showed us a more programmatic side of SAAS, with some examples on “how to” and “how not to” use SASS. In the presentation he had a neat example on how to use SASS when you need to manipulate colors. He also presented a few fun examples with SASS using CSS animations.
The second session started with a presentation from Stephen Hay, Maintaining simplicity, a presentation focused on how unwanted complexity is added during the process of building applications. He presented some examples on how complicated are some steps, which a user has to follow, in order to get what he needs and why is it important to keep it simple so that the user can have a easy interaction with whatever your applications is offering.
After that, Tobias Ahlin followed with his presentation – A tale of talent, titles, and other discouraging delusions, in which he presented some simple examples on how applications can have and help the user interaction with some simple graphic examples.
After lunch, Soledad Penades made a fun presentation, Hands on web audio, filled with lots of audio examples and examples on how to use the Web Audio API.
Following Soledad came Heydon Pickering, with his presentation, Paper prototyping applications. He presented some fun ways to use actual paper design, during the design of an web application.
The final presentation was held by Christian Heilmann, The wheel is spinning, but the hamster is almost dead, where he emphasized the fact that we overcomplicate things during development and we should use the tools and the technology that applies best when developing.
Thanks to the speakers and the organizers for making this an interesting and pleasant event.
This year we will take part once again at our favorite conference here in our hometown: T3EE 2015! The center theme of this year’s edition is diversity and we believe that supporting more events in the East Europe can be the key to diversify the TYPO3 community.
Our commitment as Gold Sponsor each year is to give back to the community and a recognition of the great business value that TYPO3 has always brought into our company.
There’s a pretty exciting summer tradition we have going on each year: ARXIA Summer Camp. Working all day with your eyes pinned down to a monitor can get exhausting, no matter how many interesting projects you get involved into and that is the reason why each year we prepare, for more than 6 months, a 4 day getaway together in a semi-remote area.
It starts off with the difficult process of picking the perfect location, a process into which all team members are involved during our weekly Team Talks. Some like mountains, others like the seaside while a remote few urban city breaks, but after weighing in all the pros & cons and several voting sessions, this year’s location was Baia de Aries – a small Romanian town with a population just a bit above 5.000 habitants. It was until 2004 a mining centre extracting, mainly for base metals, with tourist objectives like the monument of nature tree known as the “Emperor’s beech” and the Muncel Monastery, but also a modest waterfall and the well conserved forests.
We rented a van (nicknamed “ARXIA mobil”) as we discovered that it is way more fun to travel the entire team in the same car and we departed ARXIA’s office on a rainy Saturday. It was a 2 hours drive from Cluj Napoca to our host pension Roua Muntelui (translation: Mountain Dew – no connection with the beverage with the same name
Day #1 – Arrival
Day one started with unpacking and some leisure time to accommodate with the location. The pension had a great pool, unfortunately we couldn’t use it due to bad weather. After a rich Romanian specific lunch, we played some interesting team building games.
We got to know each other by playing “Personal Map” – a game where the team had to guess the life of a specific individual.
A team is nothing without good coordination, “The stick” showed us that working together we can accomplish so many things.
It was followed by a stormy debate about life & dead in the game “Lifeboat” – a game where we had to save people based on their profession.
All those “serious” team building games called for a bit of unwinding & what perfect way to do than to play the old childhood game “The ducks & The hunters”. Rules of the game are simple, 2 people server as hunters, surrounding the rest while trying to hit them with a ball. Last man standing is upgraded to hunter.
After a quick dinner it was Quiz time! Colleagues prepared a list of questions from various domains and we split in 5 teams – the team to get the most questions right, wins.
Ending the day was of course with a karaoke party – some colleagues showed their passion to music (and money, try to sing Bruno Mars’ – Billionaire), while others became a bit sentimental on the soundtrack of Titanic.
Day #2 – Competition day
The day after is always the hardest, but the logistics team was prepared to give a wake call to remember – army style, trumpets & knocking on doors!
A bio-friendly breakfast charged our batteries as it turned out we would need lots of energy & creativity for the Photo Hunting competition. I’d say this is the most exciting game we play each year, we split in teams and receive the same list of items to photograph – from “ducks crossing the street” to “darkness”.
Next game was inspired from Lord of the rings I guess, but we were surprised to find out that some colleagues do have experience or even own a bow – in our “Archery” games. Rule is simple – hit a bottle as many times as possible & your team wins. Not even our freshly operated colleague could stand this game out!
Lunch & leisure time followed the games, but even some pool time as the weather started to improve and our colleagues do love some quality time in the pool.
They say coding is much like art, well the next game we had to go through truly proved it. “Movie time” requested that we draw a random topic and in 20 minutes we had to come up with a script & also film it, no props, only the objects we wound surrounding the pension. Topics ranged from politics to showbiz, we would publish the videos, but we won’t want to hard the artistic integrity of your colleagues
Our coordination skills were once again put up to a challenge it the games “Ski on grass”. Your team would be tied to the same 2 wooden boards while you “run” against an opponent team & time. A video can be seen on your Facebook page.
What is a camp without some sport? We’re proud to have over a quarter of our team composed of girls, but more importantly, girls which didn’t back out of a “Football” game! Teams fought for the ARXIA cup and luckily no red cards were handed during the game.
Life can get dizzy with summer heat, lots of tasks, errands, but not as dizzy as we got in the game “Jump around”. Spin around a stick 10 times, run 10 meters and at the end drink a beer, all timed. Fastest team not fall / throw up wins!
We ended the day with a Mexican themed party or as we called “Fiesta party”. Everyone had to improvise a mexican / spanish inspired outfit and move their body on some bachata rhythm.
Day #3 – Know each other
Everyone woke up on some Balkan music, thanks to the “wake up” agents – a delightful morning & breakfast.
Our CEO kicked-off the day with ARXIA’s long term strategy – the importance of knowing where our company is going and that we are on the same boat, trying to get to the same destination. Afterwards, we started discovering each team members’ vision of a perfect team by finding top 5 common characteristics.
“Moving Motivators” helped us discover what motivates us, but more importantly to learn about other’s motivation when working together. Each individual had to rate a list of 10 words related to motivation.
Our cooking skill were challenged in the food contest “Bake a bread”. Each team had to bake a letter of the word ARXIA, but also to make sure it tastes really special. We had to vote the best bread and of course compose our company logo with … bread!
As we got used, we finished the day with a party until the dawn.
Day #4 – Departure
After 3 days in a row partying, waking up in the 4th morning proved to be hard, but not impossible. Everyone started to pack their baggages and we headed towards Turda Gorge for some daytime trail hiking. Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii in Romanian) is a natural reserve (on Hășdate River) situated 6 km west of Turda and about 15 km south-east of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania. The canyon, formed through the erosion of the Jurassic limestone of the mountain, is 2 900 m long and the walls have heights reaching 300 m. The total surface of the canyon is of 324 ha. Cheile Turzii contain one of the richest and most scenic karst landscapes in Romania. More than 1000 plant and animal species (some of them rare or endangered, like the wild garlic or some species of eagle) live here.
We had lunch at the entrance of the gorge and everyone boarded back home to Cluj Napoca after 4 magical days of fun & new insights.
For one week, our office was the host of 4 young developers from Germany. It all started when Andrea Herzog-Kienast, founder of T3Rookies, contact us to share her idea of rookies in the big TYPO3 Community. The idea was to receive 4 German rookies at our office for one week during which they should work on a TYPO3 project and, doing so, extending their TYPO3 knowledge, but more importantly, experience how it is to work in a team. The project would be nicknamed “T3Rookies Summer Camp”.
We were immediately excited about the ideea and accepted the challenge. In exchange, we also searched for a Romanian rookie to take part in the project and live & work in Germany for one week. Our rookie – Alex, who did not work so far with TYPO3, is involved in a nice project, “Today Software Magazine”, which publishes a monthly magazine and holds events for the programming community from Cluj. We wanted him to have a nice experience with TYPO3 and thus further spread the word in Cluj.
Choosing the project turned out to be easier than we thought because we keep a close contact with various charity organizations that help children from the poor rural areas or orphans & abandoned kids. This is how we met Aksza Foster House in December 2014, our colleagues met the children and we gave them Christmas gifts, but we decided we wanted to help them further. Aksza did not have a website and for them it was important to able to share their message on the internet. So, since we are good in making websites, it was a natural choice to help them this way and get involved the rookies in a good cause.
We had a great time hosting the Rookies for a week and working together with them.We were happy to see many of our colleagues involved in helping the Rookies with the project, but also in social activities, as the Summer Camp is also a good moment to share cultural experiences, for the Rookies to know more about Cluj and Romania, to have fun, and for our people to know more about the life of a young developer in Germany. Outside work activities included visit Turda Salt Mine, bowling, eat sushi and movie-evenings.
Building a website from first contact with the client until delivery to production server has passed rookies through all the challenges a project faces, from conflicts to the value of good team communication & synchronization.
It was a good experience, it was fun, it was rewarding and it was a success. We also learned some things about how we could organize the camp better in the upcoming editions, and for sure we want to move forward next year and participate in an even larger TYPO3 Rookies program, which hopefully will gather more Rookies and more agencies from all over Europe.
Did you know about T3Rookies? This is a new project, initiated and coordinated with great enthusiasm by Andrea Herzog. The purpose is to gather students and young people, help them integrate in the big TYPO3 community and provide them opportunities, logistics and support to become the developers and contributors of the TYPO3 future.
Arxia is proud to support this project and will offer this summer, from 27th of June – 4th of July 2015 a hands-on training to 6 T3Rookies. We prepared a nice project: a website for a foster home in Cluj, named Aksza. The Rookies will have the opportunity to meet those kids, with ages from 7 to 20 years and focus on learning and school (the oldest one is a student) and create a website from start to end: to conceive the site’s concept, design and content (in 4 languages: English, Romanian, Hungarian and German), of course to implement the site and to optimize it for search engines. The website should be ready and live at the end of the week, so there will be some intensive work (but don’t worry, no more than 6 hours per day), but rewarded in the free time with the great pubs, clubs and bars of Cluj Napoca (which is, this year, awarded with the title European Youth Capital).
And we have a surprize for the attendees: in the same period (25-28 June), one of the best music events in Romania is taking place near Cluj Napoca: Electric Castle
TYPO3 East Europe 2015 has been announced and it will be held on the 13th-14th of November. It is now a good time to remember the previous edition, T3EE 2014.
T3EE 2014 was the second edition of this event, initially started in 2013, its goal was to bring together developers, agencies and community members, from all around Europe. Also this year, Arxia is volunteering the organization of T3EE 2015.
Predating the main event, on Thursday we had a workshop at the Casino Urban Culture Center, organized by Arxia in partnership with the Cluj-Napoca City Hall and Cluj IT Cluster. The workshop focused on sustainable software solutions for the public administration, fostering a dialogue between the institutions from our region and our guests from Germany and the Netherlands, who shared their experiences and best practices in e-government, the use of open standards and web accessibility.
In the evening we had a welcome dinner held at the Matei Corvin restaurant, where we indulged ourselves with tasty local dishes and drinks.
The main event started on Friday morning, at the Golden Tulip Ana Dome Hotel. At the entrance, the Halloween atmosphere was given to the participants by a vampire, which offered some “blood”, to loosen up a bit.
After the opening ceremony, presented by Daniel Homorodean, the presentations started with a speech made by Rens Admiraal entitled “The current state of TYPO3 Neos + the short term roadmap”. The event continued with talks about community software, NEOS and TYPO3 CMS.
After the talks ended, everybody prepared for the main party, the Halloween party, held at Casa TIFF, in a Halloween theme decorated cellar. There you could find: witches, clowns, dark angels, vampires, scuba divers, Frankenstein and even Batman joined the party. Like all the others T3EE parties, we had a great time, with plenty of food, drinks (open bar, how else?) and had a lot of fun together till the break of dawn.
The second day started at 10 AM, in the same location, this time on two session tracks. On this day the topics were more diverse, with talks like the TYPO3 Campus Project, Atomic development, WebGL – 3D World in your Browser and so on.
For the afterparty we went out to a brewery, formerly a local beer factory – Fabrica de Bere Ursus – where as usual we had a good time, shared experiences and talk about different things concerning the TYPO3 world.
All in all, it was another great event, where everybody came together, shared their thoughts, opinions and experiences.
We expect to see you all and experience our future T3EE events!